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SHELDON — Damage to a wind turbine near Sheldon in Iroquois County was discovered over the weekend, and officials for E.On Climate & Renewables North America said Monday they would be “working with the manufacturer to figure out what happened.”
E.On officials described the damage to the turbine — one of nearly 100 that are part of the firm’s 150-megwatt Settlers Trail Wind Farm — as a “rare event for us.”
“It doesn’t happen very often,” said Matt Tulis, communications manager for the Chicago-based wind farm developer.
The 1.6-megawatt turbine is 5 to 6 miles east of Watseka on Iroquois County Road 2700 East, just off of U.S. 24. One blade was bent back and debris was lying around the base of the turbine. Part of the blade was lying in a field away from the base.
Carl Gerdovich, director of the Iroquois County Emergency Services & Disaster Agency, said a lightning storm came through the northern end of the county Saturday night and Sunday morning, but he said he was not aware of any damage caused by the storm.
“I never heard of any trees down or lines down, so I can’t imagine that would do it to one windmill and do no other damage, but I suppose it’s possible,” Gerdovich said.
Tulis said his firm is investigating how the damage occurred and plans to contact GE, the manufacturer of the turbine, as part of its investigation. He said the investigation may take a few days.
“We’re working with the manufacturer to figure out what happened and to figure out a way to keep it from happening again,” Tulis said Monday.
The damaged turbine has been taken out of operation, Tulis said. No other turbines were found damaged.
Tulis also said there has been no property damage reported in the area of the damaged turbine other than the turbine itself. Nobody was injured, he added.
The Settlers Trail Wind Farm was built last spring and is the second operational wind farm in Illinois for E.On. The firm also completed its Pioneer Trail Wind Farm near Paxton last fall.